The Muppets

Aural Fixation - Large

With the 84th Academy Award nominations announced last week (and me finally coming up for air post-Sundance), I wanted to give the five Original Score (and two Original Song) nominees a closer look. Each nominated score is full-bodied and as varied as the films they are featured in ranging from fun (John Williams for The Adventures of Tin Tin) to lush (Ludovic Bource for The Artist) to dramatic (Howard Shore for Hugo) to tense (Alberto Iglesias for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) to emotional (John Williams for War Horse) while each of the nominated songs are quirky and catchy (Bret McKenzie’s “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets and Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett’s “Real In Rio” from Rio.) While I am not going to propose to understand why the Academy makes their choices the way they do (the lack of Drive and Shame nominations alone had me scratching my head last week) and I do not think that the scores and songs that were selected are unworthy of their nominations, I was still left with some questions when looking into who may come out on top on February 26th.

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The Best Movie Posters of 2011

Movie posters can rise to level of works of art, can be tame or daring. They are of course advertising. A good poster makes you want to know more about the movie and the more you want to know the more you’ll want to spend your money to see the film. With that in mind, we’ve assembled our favorites of 2011, broken down into fancy categories for your reading and viewing pleasure.

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As we all sit here at Reject HQ, gathered around an absurdly long, but incredibly imposing, table discussing what to do with the nuclear missiles we just “creatively appropriated” from a breakaway Russian republic, it occurs to us that 2011 was a great year to be bad. For every boring, dopey, goody-good hero that popped up on the silver screen, there was a brilliant, super cool, woefully misunderstood villain doing everything he/she/it could to thwart the zero hero at every turn. So when Supreme Commander #1, better known to the world (and those pesky Avengers so they’ll stop blasting our lair) as Neil Miller, issued an official order (delivered by a specially-trained, fire-breathing, gun-toting alligator who lives in the moat) to construct a supersonic death ray…that assignment went to Kate “Femme Fatale” Erbland. But then I got asked to do this list of the 20 Best Villains of 2011, a decided promotion from my usual position as sinister cocktail-fetcher and cleaner of the diabolical gutters.

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The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks

As you may have noticed, this final week of 2011 has been almost completely taken over by our third annual Year in Review. It was born in 2009 out of our love for lists and your thirst for reading, discussing and ultimately hating them. And each year the entire project gets a little bigger, a little bolder and slightly more absurd. With that in mind, I’m once again proud to present you with The Best Films of 2011: The Staff Picks. Each of our 14 regular staff writers, contributors and columnists, almost all of whom have been with us the entire year, were asked to present their top 5 films, in no particular order (although many of them placed their top film at the top, as logical people tend to do), each with an explanation. Some even included curse words as a bonus to you, the reader. Read: The Best Films of 2010: The Staff Picks | The Best Films of 2009: The Staff Picks Once again, the Staff Picks are a testament to the diversity we have here at Film School Rejects, with picks ranging from the likely suspects (Take Shelter, Hugo, Shame) to the slightly more nerdy (Attack the Block, Super 8, The Muppets) to several movies that may not yet be on your radar (see Landon Palmer’s list for those). And once again, it’s with a deep sense of pride that I publish such a list, the best of 2011 as seen through the eyes of the movie […]

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Year in Review: The Best Scores and Soundtracks of 2011

It has been quite the year in film, but even more so when it came to the music in those films. We got scores that pushed the envelope, soundtracks that were full of nostalgia and orchestration that could easily fit in to the 1930s. It was an eclectic year that introduced us to new talent while also reestablishing the music from existing ones. Normally when the year comes to close, I look back on the various soundtracks and scores from the films that came out and I can easily hone in on a handful that most stood out to me. 2011 was not that kind of year. With even more artists becoming composers (The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx), impressive composers coming to the forefront (Cliff Martinez with his scores for The Lincoln Lawyer, Contagion and Drive, two of which made this list) and childhood favorites back on the big screen (The Muppets and Winnie the Pooh), there was a huge pool of talent and good music to choose from. And although it makes my task of rounding up the top picks more difficult, it also means films are getting filled with more and more good music – a trend I hope (and expect) will continue in 2012. But on to this year’s picks!

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Mural

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a thing that chronicles the day in movie news. Or in many cases, a day’s worth of interesting articles that you should be reading. If you want a bunch of trade news reprinted with a lone, snarky comment, there are plenty of mediocre movie blogs out there who can deliver such things. We choose the higher road. Or the lower road, depending on our mood. We begin this evening with a mural painted by Australian street artist Anthony Lister in Los Angeles. He’s painted a mural in honor of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which just so happens to come out on DVD and Blu-ray this week. Go figure. The completely marketable timing aside, it’s quite cool. I’ve even included a time lapse video of Lister putting this work together just after the jump.

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The 2011 Gift Guide: Music for Movie Lovers

Welcome to The Holiday Gift Guide, our yearly stroll through all the things you absolutely should have on your Christmas list this year. To begin, we encourage you to strap on your little, tiny headphones, and get ready for more giving suggestions from your favorite Rejects. Do you have a friend or family member on your Christmas list that always has their fingers on the pulse of the music scene, making buying them anything music-related nearly impossible? Have no fear – I turned to the silver screen to find music they may not have heard from movies they might also enjoy. And, as has been the trend lately with popular artists starting to compose for film, I rounded up some current composers and the bands you may not know they started out in. Plus a few artists you may not know who have begun composing for films. This list features movies that came out this year with kick-ass soundtracks as well as albums from artists-turned-composers. If you have someone in your life that is a music lover and into movies, then this is the list for you. And if you are that person, this list may give you some ideas of what to include on your own wish list. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list, but merely suggestions to help inspire ideas and give you a jumping off point. And if there is a great suggestion I overlooked, feel free to sound off in the comments and let our […]

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The Reject Report

Like a mic. Drop the ball. Walk off the stage. Oh, I guess you have to say something witty or snarky before that, don’t you? Well how about some box office analysis? We’ve got two big hitters opening up this weekend, both of them reaching for different audiences, and both of them likely to have decent openings here. The star-studded girlie night is probably going to beat the R-rated Adventures in Babysitting remake, though. Okay, it’s not really a remake, but, I mean, come on. Just look at that trailer. That film, by the way, is The Sitter starring Jonah Hill. He’s found moderate success in his newly acquired leading man status. A $17.5m opening for Get Him to the Greek was impressive enough in the summer of 2010 despite the film not having much of a branding behind it. The Sitter is also the new film by David Gordon Green, who had good numbers with Pineapple Express ($23.2m opening weekend), not so much with Your Highness ($9.3m opening weekend). The Sitter has a good chance of coming in somewhere between those two, a little less than what Jonah Hill pulled for Get Him to the Greek. Expect The Sitter to make somewhere between $15-16m, a good showing but not enough to topple the other new release here.

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The Reject Report

And you all slept through it, didn’t you? It’s okay. I mean, it’s not THAT big of a surprise, really. We knew the latest Twilight outing would be strong competition for anyone, even those lovable Muppets.What surprised me was how much The Muppets dropped here in only its second weekend out. While other family fare were coming in with drops under 40%, The Muppets ended up being the biggest drop of all the top 10 films and only pulled another $11m domestically. Evidently most parents wanting to relive their childhood and bring their kids along with them already hit the film up last weekend while stuffed with Thanksgiving dinner. Not many of them came back for a second helping.

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The Reject Report

It’s a rare weekend we’re looking at here. Coming off the big Thanksgiving weekend, we have no new movies opening in wide release. The only new films coming out are in limited, and only one of those is really worth mentioning. So let’s do that right now, shall we? There’s been a lot said about Shame, mostly about what Michael Fassbender brings to the table. Director Steve McQueen required the film to remain…um…uncut from potential buyers, and, thankfully, that’s how the film remains. Of course, that means it’s not getting much of a release here, only nine screen across the nation, but that’s to be expected for this type of Oscar hopeful, art-house flick. Our very own Kate Erbland called Shame “beautiful” and “deeply personal”, and that’s pretty much what most critics are saying about it. Expect a lot of critical acclaim and Oscar nominations for Shame when that time comes. Right now, however, the film won’t be making much of a splash at the box office.

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Muppet Pegs by Josh Cicci

Before we begin with this particular feature, we feel the need to apologize. This particular feature was due to be part of our Guide to The Muppets feature, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle. That said, we couldn’t let it get completely lost. Because as you’ll see, it’s a great feature full of art from a very talented artist named Josh Cicci. And since every week is Muppets Week in our hearts, we actually don’t see any problem running it late. We were still celebrating The Muppets, anyway. And now, on with some great Muppets art from Josh Cicci.

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Culture Warrior

The self-reflexive practices of the meta-film take various forms. On the one hand, there’s the legacy of cinephilic directors from Brian De Palma to P. T. Anderson to Robert Rodriguez who shout out to specific films through their in-crowd referencing, or even go so far as to structure entire narratives through tributes to cinema’s past. Then there’s “the wink,” those film’s, like this weekend’s The Muppets, who exercise cheeky humor by breaking the fourth wall and by constant reference to the fact that they are in a heavily constructed film reality. The third category is less common, but perhaps the most interesting. There has been a recent influx of films that don’t use past films to construct present narratives or engage in Brecht-light humor, but have as their central narrative concern the broad developmental history of the medium itself, from practices of filmgoing to particularities of projection, and anything in between. Bertolucci’s The Dreamers is a good example of this mode of meta-filmmaking, but more high-profile films have begin to make this turn, specifically by directors who formerly operated in the first (and perhaps most common) category, like Tarantino with Inglourious Basterds two years ago. Now Martin Scorsese has followed suit with the 3D love letter to early cinema and film preservation that is Hugo.

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The Reject Report

Out of all the family movies that were marketed towards reuniting families across America this weekend, and it’s the Twilight movie that came out on top once again. I can’t say I’m shocked, though. Only in its second weekend, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 dropped 69.8% from three-day weekend to three-day weekend. But its take last weekend was so huge that hardly any film could compete with it, even with such a massive drop. That level of drop wasn’t a shocker, either, seeing as how New Moon dropped 70% upon its release in November of 2009. As it stands, Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is still in third place among overall domestic gross for the Twilight franchise, ahead of the first film and about $80m away from either New Moon or Eclipse. With a reported budget of $110 – nearly double the cost of Eclipse, the second most expensive film in the series – you would think Summit Entertainment is thankful that the series is headed towards its end. Still, you have to look at worldwide box office, and Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is running smoothly with $488.8m overall. It’s still a solid investment, and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 will only be putting more and more dollars in Summit’s coffers. The Muppets had fine footing over the weekend, too, even better when you factor in their 5-day total. It’s not quite the $65.2m The Muppet Movie pulled in total domestic in 1979. Of course, with inflation adjustment, The Muppet […]

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President Obama and Bill Murray

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a silly little thing. Just a thing that some people read. Nothing special, really, just the world’s foremost late-night independent movie news and editorial round-up. You know, the usual. We begin tonight with a picture of President Obama and Bill Murray meeting at the Towson v. Oregon State basketball game this past weekend. I wonder if the Prez got a chance to grill him about all the recent Ghostbusters 3 rumors. We’ve already submitted a formal inquiry to the White House, with no response as of time of our publishing deadline.

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Why Watch? We’re winding down Muppet Week on SFOTD with a short film that isn’t obviously influenced by Jim Henson‘s creations. It’s a different style (fluid animation), and it’s not the same tone (darkly sardonic), but this short work from Patrick Smith features something that a lot of creatives have battled with: the internal struggle of the artist with his art work. In this case, they’re puppets. That take control. Would it be fun to see this done with Beaker? You bet. What does it cost? Just 6 minutes of your time.

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Tell Us What You Thought of The Muppets

It’s been time to start the music, light the lights and all that other jazz for some time now. And after a great deal of waiting, we finally have a new Muppets film to call our own. For the first time in a long time, and for some, the first time ever, we can see Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and other favorites on the big screen. And according to our own review by Brian Salisbury, it’s a splendid experience. And while we trust our own instinct on stuff like this, secure in the knowledge that a few of you rely on us to help guide you through a cinematic sea of uncertainty, we also love to hear what you have to say. Which is why we’d like you to tell us what you thought of The Muppets in the comments section of this very post. Give us your review, short or tall. Tell us what you liked, loved or hated about The Muppets and most importantly, tell us why. We’d love nothing more than to have a little discussion about it. To inspire you, I’ve also left you with one of my favorite clips from the film…

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Editor’s Note: If you don’t want some of the finer points of The Muppets spoiled for you (uh, including the ending), maybe sit this one out (on a boat somewhere, possibly? with an attractive lady pig and a nearby rainbow?). However, if you’re more concerned with spoilers regarding the film’s copious cameos, you’ve got the frog-green light to read this one. I am a cynic. That’s not so much a startling admission as it is recognition of the ugly little monster that sits on my shoulder every time I go into any given screening these days. This monster whispers in my ear the titles of all the Hollywood films over the last few years that have displayed a lack of originality, poor acting, and a general lack of heart. It tempts me to predispose myself toward negativity and force the movie to win me over. That same monster was sitting on my shoulder even as I sat down to see The Muppets, a film to which I had very much been looking forward. That monster was there despite how much I loved The Muppet Show when I saw it in rerun as a kid and despite my having worn out my VHS copy of The Muppet Movie many years ago. Ultimately, this film not only silenced that little monster, but it clobbered it with one of Miss Piggy’s left hooks and replaced it with a familiar singing frog whom I had forgotten how much I truly missed. As it turns […]

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Hell on Wheels

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s preparing for it’s Thanksgiving day off. Lots of movies in its future. So it’s going to make this quick. But don’t worry baby, it isn’t about how long it lasts. It’s about the motion of the ocean. We begin tonight with something very near and dear to my heart: shows that I like. Sure, it’s about television and not movies, but this column, while accused of being many things, has never been accursed of being consistent. Anyway, Vulture is reporting that Hell on Wheels has seen a ratings dip. We need to curb this, people. It’s a damn good show. So watch it and ensure that it doesn’t get cancelled. Seriously. Common is on that show.

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The Sound of The Muppets

What do think of when you think of a Muppet movie? Four foot tall puppets you’d love to see exist in the real world? Messages of friendship, hope and belief in yourself? Sure, all of that is true. But there’s one other consistent thing that permeates all iterations of the Muppets franchise: musical numbers. From the “Rainbow Connection” to the barber shop quartet version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and every sound effect in between, sound is a very important element to the unrestricted joy brought on by The Muppets. To explore this specific element of the production, we have a new video from the fine folks at The SoundWorks Collection, profiling the people behind the scenes whose job it is to start the music…

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Reel Sex

Over two days in the winter of 2010 I read Julie Klausner’s hilarious and intimate memoir, I Don’t Really Care About Your Band. As someone who spends just as much time loving guys as I do movies, Klausner’s welcome invitation to her past dalliances touched me in a way I so craved at the time. When I wasn’t conflicted over the similarities between her love choices and mine, I was laughing because “thank god!” she experienced some of these situations and not me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read my fair share of twenty-somethings struggles with love and life creative non-fiction offerings. But with each turn of the page I wondered if Klausner and I were the same person, each separately living the same life experiences. By the time that book ended up in my hands, I had suffered through two consecutive heartaches and was stumbling headfirst into a year of life changes I wasn’t sure I could handle. With a year’s perspective, I can assuredly say the life lessons in I Don’t Really Care About Your Band directly contributed to me not losing my boy-crazy mind. Early in the book Klausner shares her first relationship “ah-ha” moment. She reflects on the personal damage of her first celebrity crush and how that man unconsciously embodied all the men she would shack up with through her formative teen and adult years. This man wasn’t the conventional Brat Pack heartthrob frequently fantasized on by ladies of the 1980s, but rather a tiny green […]

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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